A group of Umkhonto weSizwe veterans organised under the ANC’s Umkhonto weSizwe national council has criticised the selective morality of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA), saying they saw nothing wrong with corruption under former president Jacob Zuma, but were quick to condemn President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The Umkhonto weSizwe national council was responding to a media briefing the MKMVA gave on Wednesday, where they preached about factionalism in the party and criticised the current ANC national executive council (NEC), as well as “an ineffective government” that is misrepresenting the interests of the party.
The acting secretary-general of the Umkhonto weSizwe national council, Gregory Nthatisi, this week said: “The MKMVA has been mobilising support for comrade Jacob Zuma in his court and the Judicial Commission of Inquiry Into Allegations of State Capture, in a manner that expresses strong intolerance for the corruption-busting efforts of the ANC-led government.
“This glaring selective morality in itself exposes the cheap shots fired by the MKMVA to dupe our people, that they’ve had their Damascus moment. This is why we hold that their actions … seem to reinforce our observation that there are currently two ANCs within the ANC.”
On Tuesday, former finance minister and MKMVA member Des van Rooyen stepped up to the podium and said that Zuma was far more severely criticised for his administration’s role in corrupt activities than his successor is being.
The Umkhonto weSizwe national council was formed several years ago as MKMVA president Kebby Maphatsoe and his leadership collective were accused by ex-combatants of misrepresenting their interests and of recruiting younger people with no struggle track record into the association.
The MKMVA has been at odds with the national council for years over the legitimacy of its structure, and these divisions appear to be deepening.
Maphatsoe said rampant looting during the Covid-19 pandemic was a “litmus test” for Ramaphosa. This, he added, was the right time for Ramaphosa to rise to the occasion, especially after campaigning on an anti-corruption card that led to his election as ANC president in December 2017.
Maphatsoe said that disunity within the party had led to an anti-corruption attitude that was targeting only a certain faction, while turning a blind eye to the other, and that only a united NEC could deal with corruption without fear or favour and restore the credibility of the organisation.
Nthatisi said the Umkhonto weSizwe national council’s main bone of contention was that the MKMVA had spoken to the media on their behalf without informing them, and were presenting a united front, which was not the case.
“Hence we find it curious that the MKMVA can speak of the need for the unity and decisiveness of the ANC NEC, when it has been part of a faction that is doing everything imaginable to stall unity and harden attitudes against the renewal of the ANC, which must certainly be predicated on accountability for nine years of wanton corruption. This corruption has caused the collapse of ANC structures, and led to the dysfunctional state of some ANC-led provincial governments and local government structures,” he said.
Nthatisi added that the intentions of the MKMVA were suspicious.
“We need to take issue with a number of their proposals, their rationale in dealing with wrongdoing in the quest to rebuild the ANC and their timing in raising issues, which, over the past nine years, have driven the ANC to the point of self-destruction – wherein they have largely been complicit as willing enablers.
“Our approach is to look deeper into their statement while relating it to their conduct and actions, so as to determine their real intention, given the critically urgent need to unite, renew and rebuild the ANC,” said Nthatisi.
While the MKMVA had been strong backers of Zuma and openly defended him amid his controversies, the Umkhonto weSizwe national council was openly critical of him and his leadership, he added.